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Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia: AI Concerns

Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia: Amnesty International's Continuing Concerns

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

6 December 2000 EUR 70/066/2000 227/00

Amnesty International today issued a new report focusing on its continued concerns for human rights in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia following the elections of the new President in October.

As the European Union (EU) considers the first steps towards integration of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) into the EU, Amnesty International's report seeks to remind the international community of the human rights violations perpetrated by the previous government.

"President Kostunica must order the arrest of indicted suspects - including former President Milosevic - and their transfer to the custody of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia," said Amnesty International today.

Heading the organization's suggested 10-point plan for human rights in the FRY is a call to end the impunity enjoyed by those suspected to have committed war crimes during the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

"President Kostunica must address the culture of impunity in FRY, not only for violations of international humanitarian law, but also for violations of both domestic criminal codes and of international standards," emphasized Amnesty International.

Arrests, harassment and ill-treatment of opposition groups, journalists and non- governmental organisations - such as the student group Otpor - who opposed the Milosevic government was widespread.

"In order to demonstrate that impunity for human rights violations is now over in the FRY, complaints made relating to allegations of ill-treatment by the police under the previous government should be fully and impartially investigated," Amnesty International said. "Law-enforcement officers suspected of ill-treatment should be brought to justice and victims should receive fair and adequate compensation."

Other concerns include the content of an amnesty law for conscientious objectors, issues relating to the unfair trials of Kosovo Albanian prisoners held in Serbian jails and the rights of refugees and internally displaced people in the country.

The organization urges President Kostunica to cooperate fully with the International Committee of Red Cross and the Commission for Detainees and Missing Persons, set up to establish the fate of up to 3,000 Kosovo Albanians who"disappeared" during the war in Kosovo, as well as that of up to 1000 Serbs and Roma reportedly abducted by the Kosovo Liberation Army or other ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

The organization also stresses the need for legal reforms, including the abolition of the death penalty in the republics of Serbia and Montenegro, to bring FRY in line with international standards.

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